Expenditure and Food Survey
The Expenditure and Food Survey (EFS) took over from the Family Expenditure Survey (FES) and the National Food Survey (NFS) on 1 April 2001. In Northern Ireland, the FES was carried out annually since 1967 and gathered information about the household itself, household and personal incomes, and certain expenditure (e.g. rent, gas and electricity bills, telephone bills, hire purchase payments etc). The NFS was first introduced in NI in 1996 and collected information on weight, cost and nutritional value of food consumed in the home. There had been considerable overlap between the two surveys, with both asking respondents to keep a diary of expenditure. The amalgamation of the two surveys to form the EFS provides improvements in data scope and quality and is more cost effective than having two separate studies.
The EFS is commissioned by the Social Survey Division (SSD) of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The main customers are divisions within ONS, DEFRA and a number of other government departments.
SSD is responsible for the survey design and carries out fieldwork in Great Britain, while the Central Survey Unit (CSU) of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) undertakes the fieldwork in Northern Ireland.
The EFS is a continuous survey, collecting information on household expenditure, income and food consumption. The primary uses of the survey are to provide information about spending patterns for the Retail Price Index, and about food consumption and nutrition. The data will also feed into estimates of consumers´ expenditure in the National Accounts, be used for tax benefit modelling and be an important source of economic and social data for the government and other research agencies.
Family Spending, the UK Expenditure and Food Survey Report can be downloaded
free of charge from the ONS
Note to users:
The Expenditure and Food Survey has been
running in Northern Ireland since 2001. Due
to resource constraints, the boosted element
of the survey previously funded by contributors
from other departments will cease from January
2010. Thereafter the EFS will continue in
NI with a sample proportionate to the NI population
relative to the UK. This will be equivalent
to the current situation pertaining in England,
Scotland and Wales.